A visit to Colonial Homestead

A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I drove up to Millersburg, OH to check out the fall colors and the antique malls up there. We visited Millersburg a couple of years back only to find out after we left, that there is an antique tool store in town. I saw Colonial Homestead on Instagram when we got home and couldn’t believe I missed it so, this time I knew I had to put it on our list of stops.

The building is about ten minutes outside of town and is a really big. Inside there are thousand of tools laying on tables and bookshelves. I immediately took a step back just to absorb everything I was looking at. There’s a table in front with a bunch of Stanley planes that are restored and ready for use.

Every tool you could imagine in this joint with some rare and unusual pieces. The prices on the tools are equivalent to eBay pricing, so don’t expect to get a steal. At least it’s not for me as I’m a picker so there was no meat-on-the-bone with the pricing on the tools. He was asking $2100 for the Stanley No 1 which was way above my budget. It looks like it’s sitting on the original box but I don’t remember noticing the box when I was looking at it.

He did have a real nice selection of molding planes with prices that were in my budget however, he only takes cash and I didn’t have any on me so, it was pretty much a few minutes of browsing.

He also had a nice closet full of woodworking books. There were a lot of out of print books along with Lost Art Press favorites. I looked for the 2nd edition of the Stanley Tool Collecting book by John Walter but, there was none to be found.

After twenty minutes of browsing, I said goodbye and went on my way as my wife was waiting in the truck. The weekend wasn’t a total lost as I was able to find tools in my budget in antique malls in Berlin, and Walnut Creek, OH. The prelateral Stanley No 37 Jenny’s Plane was my favorite pick of the trip.

A Saturday Afternoon at an Estate Auction

Not much has been going on lately with woodworking, but I have been picking up some more tools. Yesterday I went to a local estate auction and scored some serious tools. I saw the auction on AuctionZip a few days ago, but they only had a couple of pictures of a few tools. When I arrived at the auction and took a look around, I nearly crapped myself when I saw all the tools that were sitting on the tables.

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I have a blast at auctions as you can see with my winnings. I always try to remain reasonable and not get too carried away with my bidding. Fortunately, there weren’t a lot of tool collectors at the auction, so I was able to buy a whole bunch. In fact, most of the time I was bidding on several tools at once in one box.

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At the end of the day, I brought all the tools down to my basement and tried to calculate how many tools I actually bought. I had to separate the good tools from the junk that was packed in the boxes. I won a about a dozen junky block plane beds that ended up in the garbage can.

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In the end, I bought over 150 tools with nearly 100 planes. I’ll be busy over the next few months cleaning all these babies up.

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My first winning bid was for a box of steel wool for $8.00. I use a lot of steel wool when cleaning tools and I’m sick of buying those little packs for $5.00 at Lowe’s. I should have enough steel wool here to last me a couple of years.

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Probably the best buy of the day was this old BedRock 605 plane. It should be cleaned up and for sale in a few weeks.

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Now That’s a Leg Vise

While traveling between Greenville, OH and Richmond, IN for work, I stopped in an antique store in New Paris, OH and came across this behemoth. The flywheel on this leg vise must have been 18″ in diameter and was very smooth when I turned it.

Some of you may be aware of Jameel Abraham from Benchcrafted who makes reproduction flywheel hardware similar to this for workbench leg vises. I’ve tried one at the Woodworking in America conference a few years ago and loved it.  I even considered buying one for my bench before I built my Roubo workbench a few years ago. This thing would beat up his flywheel and take its lunch money.

The screw mechanism for the flywheel is so big and heavy that it needs its own shelf. I imagine the leg vise can open up to at least 12″.

Even the flywheel on the bottom was no slouch. It was probably about 8″ in diameter. It keeps the leg vise parallel to the leg of the workbench to hold the piece more snug. Put a little grease on these babies and you’ll be ready to go.

The bench sat on casters that could be rolled around the shop. For $1500 it can be all yours. I told the shop keeper that the flywheels were probably worth $500 – $800 just by themselves. What an impressive beast.

Turning a Door into a Headboard

My wife Anita and I bought an old door off of Craigslist a few months ago with the intentions of using it as a headboard for our full size bed in our spare bed room. This type of “recycled” work is new to me but it’s all the rage nowadays and my wife has just opened up a business called Bella Chic Decor where she rehab’s old furniture. We’ve been antiquing for a few weeks picking up a whole bunch of old furniture to build up her inventory and she spends time sanding and repainting it. She also has rented a space at a local antique store to sell her stuff.  She’s been doing really well and the furniture she rehab’s looks the bomb so her future looks bright.

Once we got this door home I needed to measure it and decide where to cut it in half so it would work as a headboard. I ended up using three panels of the five panel door in order for the design to make sense. Cutting the door was the easy part. I whipped out my Festool panel saw and cleanly ripped the door in half. Then I filled the door knob hole and latch with scrap wood and putty.

Turning the door into a headboard was a sinch. I knew the headboard needed to be at least 54″ long in order to fit the bolt holes for the full size bed frame so I added extra wood on each side from a 2×8 ripped down to 6 1/2″.

For the top, I simply added a piece of 3 1/2″ wide ash I had lying around and nailed it to the top with my pneumatic finish nailer. From there I cut and nailed a piece of crown molding I bought at Home Depot.

After I was done, Anita painted the headboard with chalk paint and applied a coat of dark wax then clear wax on top in order to protect the finish. The old door really came out nice and makes a stunning headboard.

Library Card Catalog Cabinets

My wife and I were browsing around an antique mall this weekend when I stumbled upon these things underneath an old trestle table. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to have them. My wife gave me a strange look wondering why in the world I would want these ugly things.

When I bought my house ten years ago, the old man who had a workshop left several library card catalog cabinets behind. I didn’t know what to do with them at first but quickly realized how handy they were. Basically, they’re a great way of storing all the miscellaneous crap you collect in your shop.

In one drawer I keep my Tormek sharpening jigs, another one I keep all my lathe accessories and so on. Plus being made out of metal, they’re incredibly strong and can hold a ton of weight. After a while, I used up all the drawers so I kept my eye out for some more file cabinets to buy. 


Library card catalog cabinets come in different sizes so some drawers are more useful than others for storing various tools. In my old cabinets, the drawers are long enough that I can store all the lathe chisels while the new ones I just picked up are too short for that. But the new ones are wider and deeper so I can store my pneumatic finish nails a lot easier. It definitely pays to have different sizes.


The true beauty of these cabinets is that no one really wants them so they’re reasonably cheap. I was able to snag all three cabinets for $15.00. I’m sure as soon as it becomes popular to spray paint these things white with pink stenciled flowers on them like people do with old suitcases, I’m sure their prices will skyrocket to $100 a pop. But for now, I’m glad I was able to pick these up dirt cheap.

A moment with the absurd

So my wife and I are browsing through an antique store this weekend when I came across this lamp.

At first I didn’t know what it was but then it dawned on me. I hesitated for a minute and looked around at the tools that were glued and soldered together hoping that none of them were valuable. Fortunately they were not. Then I looked at the price tag. $425.00 for this piece of shit.

For $425 I could buy a 13″ DeWalt planer; a Lie-Nielsen #8 jointer plane; a Festool Rotex Sander; hell I could even buy a used copy of “The Art of Joinery” by Joseph Moxon and Chris Schwarz on Amazon.  

Now I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and whoever built this thing was proud of it. Which they should be. But why in the world someone else would try to sell this thing for over $400 is beyond me. Are they trying to recoup the cost of the tools? If so, $40 should do it. None of the tools are worth more than $10.00. An old molding plane, fore plane, marking gauge, twist auger, clamp, a set of calipers and a beat up old draw knife. What the lantern is doing on the side I have no idea. I would think having a lantern on a lamp is an oxymoron.

It just makes one realize that you need to be careful when shopping in antique stores where vendors ask ridiculous amounts for their junk. More likely the next home for this lamp is in the dumpster. All I know is for $425.00, the thing should have at least come with a freaking shade.